Jordan Smith - EDGE, UAB
By the numbers:
6'6", 255 pounds. 33-3/8" arms per Senior Bowl measurements.
2020: 43 tackles (9.5 for loss), 4.5 sacks.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham's Jordan Smith is a lengthy prospect with impressive athleticism. He explodes off the snap and accelerates quickly, wasting little time getting up to speed. Despite being so tall, he displays some solid (albeit inconsistent) bend around the edge and works hard to get after the quarterback.
As Smith has added muscle over the years, power has become a more important part of his game. His energy transfer isn't always the most efficient but when he gets a good jump, he can couple it with a strong extension and subsequent swim move.
Smith's draft stock is trending upward after a solid week at the Senior Bowl. He had several impressive reps in practice, including one against projected first-round tackle Alex Leatherwood. Rather than raising more questions about his flexibility and pass-rush plan, he managed to show that overall improvement is possible.
As a pass-rusher from his outside linebacker spot, Smith is still extremely raw. He lacks a full complement of pass-rush moves and counters, aside from the aforementioned swim, and hand usage isn't a staple of his game at this point. He relies on his burst and quickness far too often, which will hinder him at the next level until he becomes more well-rounded.
Smith is still developing power, as well as an understanding of leverage and how to bend on a routine basis when rounding the edge. As more of a 3-4 outside linebacker in college, he may be best suited to serve as a hybrid pass-rushing chess piece as he gets acquainted with the NFL. Transitioning to a 4-3 defensive end role will require some work on behalf of both Smith and his team.
How Smith fits with the Chiefs:
Early on, Smith would be nothing more than a situational pass-rusher for the Chiefs. In addition to being a raw prospect, he's light for a Steve Spagnuolo defensive end. Embracing that role would require him to improve his lower-body strength and overall plan of attack. The Chiefs' need for an EDGE is serious but if they're looking for an every-down player capable of working with his hand in the dirt consistently, Smith may not be the best option.
Drafting Smith would undoubtedly be a gamble, but he may be well worth it depending on the situation he falls into. His length and athleticism simply cannot be taught and if his initial team can wait on him to develop, he could make good on their patience. His fit with the Chiefs is questionable, but the foundation is there for him to cash in as a high-risk, high-reward pick. Smith grades out as a fifth-round pick from a Chiefs-specific lens, although he could be taken a round higher in other situations.